Sunday, 16 June 2013

16th June 2013 Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge Report

Another two weeks with drizzle and sunshine, with the last few days of week two clearing up to great weather. Temperatures ranged from 17ºC to 26ºC, still a few degrees above the average for this time of year. Not good photography weather.
Past Two Weeks Bird Sightings:-
Bird sightings for the first week were 102, 98 seen and 4 heard, second week sightings were 104, 99 seen and 5 heard. These last two weeks bird lists can be found on the Eremaea Birds Website:- 1st June - 8th June and 9th June- 15th June

Birding Highlights:-
A first for a morning walk was Australian Pelican, two flew over Geraghty Park next to the Lodge. Morning Walk numbers ranged from 50 to 55 species which is quite good for June which is usually a bit quieter than the rest of the year. Straw-necked Ibis have been scarce in the area so far this year so 25 flying over the Rex Highway near Geraghty Park on the 15th was a surprise. They were coming in to land in a grassy cow paddock. An Emerald Dove was spotlighted roosting in the rainforest whilst on a nightwalk, this was a first for a nightwalk. 

Emerald Dove

Two good sightings were had of a Little Kingfisher perched over the Crake Pool on 4th June and again on the 15th, both late in the afternoon. A single Blue-faced Parrot-Finch flew over near the end of McDougall Road where the continuous rainforest from the mountains comes down to the lowlands, a first sighting at this altitude this year. Four Satin Bowerbird appeared in our neighbours garden early on the morning of the 7th, this is an occasional visitor to our area. An immature Olive-backed oriole was along the Geraghty Park Road foraging on some berries on the 8th and was joined by an adult on the 10th. A Large-billed Scrubwren, also on the 8th,, was seen carrying a leaf into a nest it was building about 4 - 5m from the ground. This is about the earliest they have been recorded nesting and the highest off the ground nest we have found in the Lodge, however they have been recorded up to 6m elswhere. Barking Owl have taken to perching on the cookshed roof in the early evening with one staying there for nearly an hour. Three immature Australian King-Parrot turned up on the 11th and were joined by another four on the 15th who flew over the orchard. Interestingly other sightings of immatures in 2011 were on the 12th and 15th June. A flock of Barred Cuckoo-shrike turned up at a fruiting fig tree, near the Lodge, for a day and cleaned up the ripe fruit. An Eastern Whipbird was heard calling from the hills across the Rex Highway from the Lodge. An overwintering Black-faced Monarch was seen foraging in the rainforest adjacent to the orchard and photographed by a guest. We do have the occasional overwintering birds but have not had any for a few years. Red-browed Finch have been very active with adults, immatures and juveniles around as well as adults displaying and building nests.

Red-browed Finch

Further Afield:-
On the 4th a Zebra Finch was at Maryfarms near Mt. Carbine, a lot further east than normal and quite a surprise, always a possibility of an escapee but none are known to be kept in captivity in the immediate area. Also here on the same day was a Black-breasted Buzzard. A Cotton Pygmy-goose was on a lagoon at Wetherby Station along the back road to Mount Molloy on the 6th, always an uncommon bird in our area. Also on the 6th a Crested Pigeon was in the area of the Mount Molloy school, again an uncommon species to be here but not surprising as they are north at Mt. Carbine and south at Mareeba. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was along Macleans Bridge Road in Julatten along with a Collared Sparrowhawk which are two uncommon raptor species in the area. (Thanks to Carol and Andrew Iles for some of these sightings).


Hasties Swamp National Park

A quick trip to Hasties Swamp found about 1500 Plumed Whistling-Duck, at least 500 Pink-eared Duck plus many more, a full list can be found on the Eremaea Birds Site.

Pink-eared Duck, Plumed Whistling-Duck and Pacific Black Duck

This Pink-eared Duck is showing the pink ear.

Pink-eared Duck and Plumed Whistling-Duck

Reptiles and Mammals:-
Nightwalks have turned up some good sightings including two Striped Possum, one in trees around the reception and over the bunkhouse plus another in a fruiting Rambutan tree in the orchard, 

Striped Possum

White-tailed Rat were climbing around the forest on vines, Spectacled Flying-fox feeding on a Soursop tree and a few frogs – White-lipped Green Tree Frog, Jungguy Frog, Cogger's Frog and Red Tree Frog. There was one sighting of Platypus in Bushy Creek which hopefully means they are back for an extended stay. Our neighbours had a Brown Tree Snake in their garden which was the only snake seen over the two weeks; maybe the cooler weather has slowed them down.

Other Interesting Sightings:-
A tiny inconspicuous luminescent fungi was spotted on the edge of the orchard in the rainforest on one night walk as well as a very colourful fruit sucking moth which was feeding on a fallen Rambutan fruit.

Shop News:-
The latest book in the shop is Australian Rainforest Fruits - A Field Guide - Wendy Cooper and William T. Cooper. This is an excellent guide combining Wendy's expertise in identification and Bill's fantastic paintings. Cost is $60.00.


J Gray said...

Stunning images as always! The striped possum is just beautiful. The Emerald Dove image is so clear and really showcases its beautiful emerald feathers.

Keith and Lindsay Fisher said...

Hi Judith
Thanks for your nice comments, yes Emerald Dove are stunning birds but because they spend most of the time undercover in the rainforest you don't always appreciate their spectacular iridescent plumage. Striped Possum is always a challenge, first to find, second to photograph without disturbing the animal.